Analytical volume “Failed in Action: Why European Law Enforcers Are Unable to Tackle EU-Russian Transborder Corruption” by the Fighting Transborder Corruption Expert Group was published in January 2017 and presented on 3 February, right after the 7th General Assembly of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, at the Finnish Chapter of Amnesty International in Helsinki.
The discussion “Civil Society in Fighting Transborder Corruption in Russia and the EU. Is There Any Success?” was attended by the authors of articles – Harry Hummel, Associate Policy Director at the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, Anastasia Kirilenko, a Russian journalist, Atanas Tchobanov, Editor of the Bulgarian network Bivol.bg.
The third report of the group is the result of research and investigative activities carried out by the group’s members during the last twelve months. The main objective of the report is to answer the question: ‘What is the reason for the low efficiency of law enforcement agencies and the prosecutors’ offices of the European Union countries in fighting corruption between the EU and Russia?’.
The report is a collection of related articles which provide examples of a paradoxical situation from the investigative experience. Despite the fact that the EU constantly adopts tougher anti-corruption legislation, the actions of law enforcement officers do not lead to stronger results. Russian corrupt officials can still find a safe harbour to hide their assets in Europe. Their western partners and lobbyists go unpunished. Foreign corporations still profit from non-transparency of earning easy money in Russia.
Such practices are exemplified by two case-studies included in the report. First, the investigation of Anastasia Kirilenko highlights the involvement of the French company Vinci in the construction of the Moscow – St. Petersburg motorway and the destruction of the Khimki forest. Second, the investigation of Atanas Tchobanov reveals covert operations of Russian ambassadors on buying property in Bulgaria. Both cases demonstrate the impotency of local public prosecution services to adequately respond to the challenges and to convict defendants of corruption.
The article of Konstantin Rubakhin and Anastasia Kirilenko “Why European Law Enforcement Bodies are not Efficient Enough to Fight Transborder Corruption?” poses important questions. In this respect, as one of the reasons are indicated the gaps in international law and the fact that Russia is not a party to a majority of bilateral anti-corruption treaties and conventions. However, it is much more than that. The authors also emphasise the political dimension of corruption – when a fight against thieving officials from the East is impeded by political considerations.
The English version of the Report is available here. The Russian version will be released in March 2017.